WEAA Radio Revamps Programming Lineup to Expand Listenership

Written By Morgan State University

Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication (SGJC)—the home of the “Voice of the Community” WEAA 88.9 FM—announces enhancements to the daily and weekend programming lineup of its NPR-affiliated public radio station, including the addition of several new shows. The changes come as part of an overall and continuing effort to improve WEAA’s broadcast programming while expanding listenership and audience engagement. As a result, some current promising programs have received new time slots, new shows were created or added, and underperforming programs have been discontinued.

“WEAA Radio is undergoing a period of positive transition. Over the past several years, the station has seen its share of programmatic changes as we continue to perfect the formula and evolve as a comprehensive learning lab serving Morgan students while also reaching the broadest audience possible with our programming,” said Jackie Jones, SGJC dean. “Ultimately, this will entail a continued, critical examination of our program offerings and how that content is embraced by audiences and serves the community. While undergoing this process and in pursuit of delivering a best-in-class lineup, we will continue to invest in top-performing shows, cultivate meaningful new programs and develop hosts, and retire shows that no longer connect with audiences.”

The station’s 24-hour format features a range of music programs, including jazz, R&B, neo-soul, reggae, hip-hop, and gospel. WEAA also provides locally produced news, including coverage from student journalists and from NPR.

This past summer, WEAA introduced a new weekday lineup which included moving the show “Two Way Talk” to mornings as a lead-in for “Good Morning Baltimore” and “Mornings with Mykel.” The revamped weekday lineup also featured the newly created program “The Afternoon Vibe with Valencia Charmaine,” which is growing in audience, airing behind the popular and award-winning “Today with Dr. Kaye” show.

Building on the success of a revamped weekday programming schedule, WEAA sought to shore up the station’s weekend evening lineup of shows. While Sunday’s block of programming that features the lineup of “Gospel Grace” from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. and “Sunday Service with Rev. Bernard Keels” from 6-7 p.m. has been widely popular with listeners, the programming following has experienced steady declines in listenership. As a result, the longstanding program “The Final Call” has been retired. In an effort to attract a wider audience, it will be replaced with “Me & My Muslim Friends” with host Yasmin Bendaas. The podcast, produced in partnership with North Carolina Public Radio, is made available through NPR to its affiliated stations. In addition, “Latino USA” has been moved from its Saturday 11 p.m. time slot to Sunday at the same time. Listeners since January may also be aware that the program “Real Questions with David Brown” was replaced with the nationally syndicated jazz show, “The Wind Down” hosted by Will Downing.

“The changes that we’ve made reflect our work to provide the best possible programming for our listeners and to acknowledge the change in listening habits, and in the listeners themselves,” added Dean Jones. “WEAA is no longer just a terrestrial station. Our broadcast platforms via WEAA.org and the WEAA app give the station global reach.”

Recently, WEAA and several of its shows earned recognition and honors as part of the 2022 Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association Awards. In all, the station received three first-place and two second-place awards.

WEAA 88.9 is the NPR-affiliated public radio station of Morgan State University and a service of the University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication. It is the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region’s leading provider of jazz, locally produced talk, public affairs and news programming created by a professional staff, and undergraduate and graduate students. Broadcasting since 1977, WEAA 88.9 operates free from commercial influence and attracts support from members, underwriters, and grant-makers.

Established in 2013, Morgan’s School of Global Journalism and Communication is one of only two Maryland-based universities with an internationally accredited journalism school. Fully accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC), SGJC is dedicated to giving voice to people who struggle to contribute to the public discourse that shapes the nation and the world through innovative teaching, cutting-edge research and exemplary service to Maryland, the nation and the world. The school seeks to instill students with the skills, knowledge and training necessary to become effective communicators and to add to the diversity of thought in the media. Today, the mission of Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication is to give voice to a broader group of people – people who struggle to contribute to the public discourse that shapes this nation and the world.